When Iranian teen Sahar Tabar recently made headlines for claiming she underwent over 50 surgeries to look more like her idol, Angelina Jolie, she became an internet sensation – and caused an uproar around the world about surgical ethics. Thankfully, Tabar admitted her surgeries were a hoax, a result of prosthetics and photo editing, but two lesser-known people, twin brothers Mike and Matt Schlepp of Phoenix, Arizona, are now back in the news for plastic surgery procedures they had in 2004 to look more like Jolie’s equally famous ex, Brad Pitt.
The brothers first appeared on the now-defunct MTV reality show “I Want a Famous Face.” Long unhappy with their appearance, the Schlepp twins contacted the show, which initially offered to pay for their procedures. Though MTV eventually backed out of this agreement, the surgeons and dentists involved in the transformation ultimately donated the procedures to the brothers, who maintain that they never really wanted to look like Pitt, just “better versions” of themselves. And they got just that, following rhinoplasties, chin implants, and cheek and jaw implants for Mike. The brothers even got a total of 41 porcelain dental veneers between the two of them, as well as dual prescriptions for the acne medication Accutane.
Dr. Bruce Chau of Berkeley, Michigan, did not treat the Schlepp twins but says their purported desire to look more like a celebrity isn’t an uncommon one.
“Many of my patients come in with photos of celebrities they wish to look more like,” says Chau. “Usually they just want a certain celebrity’s nose or cheekbones, but there are certainly people who want a bigger transformation.”
Chau says wanting to look like another person isn’t inherently bad, as long as the patient understands they probably won’t be identical.
“Ideally, we want people to be happy with themselves, and not so focused on looking exactly like everyone else,” he says. “Yes, we can add more volume to your lips so they look more like Angelina’s, and we can narrow your nose so it looks like Meghan Markle’s. But the goal should be to look like a better version of you.”
As for the Schlepp twins, Chau says their procedures are celebrity transformations done right.
“They do still look like each other, but they aren’t Brad Pitt clones, and they didn’t keep going back for more procedures after the first round,” says Chau. “They refined some of their features, but they still look like themselves. To me, that’s a successful surgery.”